• Xanadu Literary Magazine

Rose Pedretti

“The Middleman”

The man who sat in his bulky gray office had only one job - to send. He sent out many things. Lottery winnings, ultrasound results, hospital bills, eviction letters. Day in and day out he placed these papers in a tight gray envelope and sealed them shut, then placed them down the metal shaft connected to his desk. These envelopes were addressed to names he never recognized living in cities he was not familiar with.

He was essentially nothing more than a middleman. With the flick of his tongue and the pressure of his thumb he brought great miracles and broke fragile hearts. Sometimes he would become curious and read through the material. He read birthday cards written by young children and astronomically high bills for tumor removal procedures. Then, without hesitation, he would seal them and send them to their designated recipients.

One day, upon arriving home from work, the man noticed a small gray envelope peeking out from his mailbox. He grabbed it and saw that it was addressed to his mother. They shared the same address. The man carefully slid his thumb under the seal, tearing open. As a bead of sweat dripped down his forehead he slowly pulled out the contents.

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